Nov 14, 2020 in History

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A Letter to Francis Perkins

Dear Ms. Perkins,

 

I would like to thank you sincerely for your letter. Politicians communicate rarely with people in such a direct manner. During my lifetime, I did not have a chance to express my concerns about the situation in the country personally to the government representative, so I decided to reply to your letter frankly and honestly.

My name is William Feinstein, and I am 45 years old. I live in New York with my family. My wife Eliza is 36 years old. My daughter Jane is 11 years old. I came to the USA with my parents from Austria when I was 5. Even though it was 40 years ago, I remember that day extremely vividly. We had great hopes for our new life in America. In fact, nearly all of them came true. My father managed to earn enough money to support our family and give me, the only son, a good education. Later, I became an engineer and started working at the steel plant. I had a well-paid job to maintain a good life. When I met my wife Eliza, she was working at a shop. We got married, and I offered her to stay at home because I received the reasonable salary.

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When stock markets crashed in 1929, I did not consider it a big problem comparing to most of my friends or co-workers (Roark, 706). Life was so good that no one could imagine that our country would suffer an economic depression. In 1931, I lost my job. My boss told me that they could not afford to pay me as I was too skilled. He found a guy who was ready to work for much less. I was shocked, but I tried hard to persuade him that I could also work for any salary he gave me. He did not want to listen to me, and I understood that the company had other reasons to fire me. Every day when I came to the gates of the plant, I saw hundreds of men trying to receive at least some job for a day. I was perfectly aware that my life could not remain unchanged. However, I did not expect that those changes would be so bad. Without my job, we had only our savings to live. Thus, my wife had to return to the shop while I was trying hard to find a job. Every morning, I went into the streets of New York to take a chance to earn a couple of dollars. For several months, I had been selling apples. Then, I had been cleaning the territory of the factory. However, those jobs were temporary. We had to rely on my wifes wage. Luckily, we managed not to lose our flat. Unfortunately, many did not. One of my cousins lost his job and was unable to pay rent for his flat, so he lived in a hut made of boards in Mercer Street.

 
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To tell the truth, I blamed our government that allowed its citizens to feel such an extreme misery. I could not understand people who remained optimistic. Moreover, I was totally devastated. However, I did not have any other option than to keep trying for my family. President Roosevelt launched the New Deal which did not bring any benefits to my family. I was still unemployed and my wife exerted every effort to feed all of us and pay our rent.

In August 1936, my friend called me and told that he had found a good job in a company that was engaged in the electrification program. I rushed to their office and discovered that the company had been accomplishing the state orders related to the Rural Electrification Act enacted in May (Roark, 713). I did not know much about it and could not find a common ground between my life and rural electrification. However, the boss of that company endorsed my qualifications. When I explained the purpose of steel cables, they hired me. The salary was not very high. Though, they reassured me that if I worked hard, my job would be guaranteed to me by the government. After so many months of hardship and misery, I could hardly believe that they were telling the truth. Fortunately, our lives have been changing for better since then. My wife keeps working, but we could eat better and buy new clothes. Little time has passed since I received this job, but everything looks promising.

You ask me whether I will vote for Roosevelt in the elections this year. About three months ago, I would definitely tell you that I would rather eat my hat than did it. Now, I understand that the government tries to help common people. The President might have made several mistakes in the New Deal neglecting certain groups of people. Though, he also launched the Rural Electrification Act which was beneficial for me. I am working for a company that makes cables for those who live in the remote areas and brings electricity to farmers. I want to support Roosevelt as I hope he will be able to introduce more good projects if the people elect him for the second time.

I have read letters of other people (my neighbor and cousin) who wrote to you. I am happy to wait for the bright future and to believe that my letter will help you (Johnson, 170). Thank you very much for contacting me with these questions.

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Yours sincerely,

William Feinstein

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